For the first time since 2012’s Superstar Collection, budget-friendly WWE DVD’s have been added to the schedule, and the first one we’re seeing this year is a short documentary on “classic” music from WWE. Of course, when I say classic I mean from the Attitude Era onwards, because everything before this era (outside of Ultimate Warrior & Dusty Rhodes) is pretty much completely ignored. While this wasn’t the best of news, it was great to hear that Jim Johnston would be the primary focus of the DVD. He has been responsible for composing the majority of WWE’s music over the years, and he hasn’t had a big opportunity yet to tell his story behind the music. Sadly, the interview pieces are not very long, but what we did get was an interesting look at some iconic wrestling themes.
The total runtime of the main feature is around 53 minutes, with approximately 20 minutes of bonus segments. Get your copy — it’s in stock here on Amazon.com for only $6.00!
A top 25 countdown is used as the format for the main feature, and the choices are all pretty good, with a few notable omissions. I would have been OK if they just decided to fully ignore everything pre-Attitude Era, but the inclusion of Ultimate Warrior & Rhodes shows that this wasn’t the case. If they were going to use names from this era, then it’s ridiculous that Hogan’s “Real American” isn’t on the list. It’s definitely one of the more iconic entrance themes. I can understand not including classical music pieces like Savage and Flair’s entrances, but Hogan should have been included. Most of the other memorable entrance themes from the late 90’s onwards are present, and most segments feature interview clips with both the wrestler (usually from an old interview) and with Jim Johnston. In general, the interviews with Johnston are the most interesting. He goes into the choices for the musical style used for each entrance, as well as a breakdown of the lyrics. The comments from the wrestlers are much more surface-level; it’s usually just them saying how much they enjoyed their music.
Usually, I come to the defense of WWE for keeping documentaries short so they don’t overstay their welcome. This one is hard to defend, though. With the given runtime, we only get 1.5-2 minutes for each theme, which is just not enough time to really get much substance. I have trouble believing that Johnston didn’t have more to say about most of the entrance themes. I also wish more than 25 entrance themes were included. The Top 25 tended to be the most famous wrestler’s entrances, rather than just the best entrance songs overall. I would have enjoyed more thoughts from Johnston about the great themes for some of the less famous wrestlers. This all ties back to increasing the length overall. I’m not saying this should be more than 1 disc, but more footage could have been added.
This is a big reason why I enjoyed the bonus features so much. Here, we had similar segments on famous entrance themes of lesser stars, such as Val Venis and “Real Man” Steven Regal. It was fun to hear a discussion of some entrance themes that stand out as very different. As memorable as the entrance themes for guys like Triple H, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Randy Orton may be, they all have a similar rock edge to them. This is very different from someone like Val Venis. Another of the bonus features shows Johnston composing Goldust’s theme using a keyboard for each of the instruments. This is very cool, and shows how each instrument has such a big impact on the song.
For the cost and time involved, I did enjoy myself while watching the countdown. I learned a few interesting things about the creation of these songs. I certainly would have preferred a longer run time to really get into a deeper discussion of each song, and let a few themes from lesser known wrestlers be discussed as well. For $6, I still think this is worth checking out, but I wouldn’t spend much more than that, and you should definitely keep your expectations at that $6 level.